The year is 1845, the earliest days of the Oregon Trail, and a wagon team of three families has hired the mountain man Stephen Meek to guide them over the Cascade Mountains. Claiming to know a short cut, Meek leads the group on an unmarked path across the high plain desert.
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Now this is a film. Beautifully captured, great camera work and astonishing use of colors. You don't feel slow parts because even when the camera wonders there's something meaningful going on; you can see it in the duration of the gestures. It is without a doubt a great cinematic experience and a insightful story. Great ending.
Loneliness and growing paranoia creep along the edges of this quietly haunting western about a small wagon train heading west under the guidance of a mysterious frontiersman that the pioneers begin to mistrust. Austere and carefully modulated, MEEK'S CUTOFF is a marvel of artistic and emotional restraint.
Picturesque shots and a sense of the ethereal pervade from early on, complimenting the eerie tone and mysteriousness of the subject matter. Has a fantastic feel to it as well, which is enhanced by the acting and dry sound design.
4/5 for now, but I can't get the movie out of my head. One of the final lines of the film, spoken by Meek, are ingrained in my mind and I think hold the key to the movie for me: "We're all just playing our parts now. This was written long before we got here." Beautiful photography and obviously a perplexing story for me personally. I reserve the right to bump up this rating in the near future...
I can't believe I let this get by me -- absolutely wonderful... breathtaking... original... I can't even begin to speak about this now. How about that ending? Talk about a mind-fuck. The insistence on the use of natural lighting reminded me of some of Terrence Malick's work.
I have gone on record regarding my admiration for Michelle Williams' spectacular star-turn in My Week with Marilyn, but while discussing the other excellent work she has been doing lately, I avoid using the word performance. It is not so much a performance that she creates in films like Meek's Cutoff, but a characterization. She does not seek to impress critics and audience, but create on film a living person.